This week, we have two letters with similar dilemmas.
Currently, I’m in a relationship with a 30-year-old woman whom I met over a year ago. We went on several dates and the rest, as they say, is history. Fast forward to today and we have been living together and have a wonderful life.
Recently, I made a discovery. When I borrowed her phone to use as a mobile hotspot, my inner voice told me to look up her chats. To my surprise, I discovered that she was in a secret relationship with a senior in higher management. In the conversation, I found several compromising pictures and texts explicitly describing their previous rendezvous. For your information, she and this guy still work together.
Besides that, I also found out about several of her secret rendezvous with different guys every time she was out drinking with her friends. Even though all this happened before she met me, my heart still aches knowing that she was in a relationship with her boss, and at the same time she has been sleeping around with several guys within a space of a few months prior to meeting me.
She has kept all these matters silent and I have not confronted her about them. I look forward to living a wonderful life with her but deep in my heart I am still very upset about this discovery. Please help me.
My fiancé and I have gone through a lot in our relationship. In the beginning, I lost trust in him when I caught him talking to other women, telling them they are beautiful, wanting to hang out with them, etc. We have worked through these specific challenges, and he has worked on changing and being better and loyal in our relationship.
He loves talking to people, especially old friends whom he no longer sees because of distance. Most of his friends, however, are female. With some of them, I don’t mind that he talks to them every once in a while.
However, recently I noticed he is talking to one specific female friend almost every single day. He does not see this friend in person, but they have had a strictly online friendship for over five years. I know I made a mistake when I snooped on his computer, and saw that she sends him good-morning messages and pictures of herself in bed, clearly without a shirt on and the top of her breasts peeping out from underneath the covers. I have found two pictures like this so far followed by a good-morning message.
He says that I don’t need to feel threatened as she is just a friend, but I am feeling extremely insecure and worried. She calls him “Babes” and makes sexual jokes with him.
Should I truly be concerned? Every time I ask about this woman, his response is always that she is just a friend, and that she would never send anything promiscuous or sexual to him. But I feel that the pictures she has sent him go beyond that.
Please help. I do not know if I am just overthinking it and causing myself to feel insecure and untrusting due to things that he has done in the past, or if this truly is a red flag.
Sex and fidelity are tricky issues because we tend to assume that others share our values but actually, that’s not true. It is a matter that needs to be discussed and agreed on – before you commit!
So, where do you start? Good healthy relationships are about partnership. That means love, trust, and mutual care, the type where you want the best for each other, even if that means being a little uncomfortable yourself sometimes. It involves give and take.
For most people, commitment means you are exclusive in terms of sex partners. Also, there are limits on emotional engagement.
However, commitment does not mean ownership. If you try and ban your partner from engaging with people based on their gender, that reflects on you. And jealousy and controlling behaviour are never attractive.
Also, your partner’s past is none of your business. You have the right to ask if they’re healthy. You also have the right to walk away if you don’t like someone’s reputation. However, you don’t get to play judge and jury over their past actions. You love them for who they are.
Both of you were snooping. You have to stop this because spying degrades you and your partner. If you have questions or doubts, be honest about them. You talk nicely and respectfully about the things that worry you. If you don’t like the answer, and you can’t find a middle way – leave.
While blanket bans are out, it’s perfectly okay to speak up if you are concerned that a particular person threatens your relationship.
Insecure, I can see where you’re coming from. Yes, it’s understandable he has lots of friends, and sexy jokes – well, that’s probably part of their regular chat. You should know that online relationships are sometimes far sexier than regular relationships. Both parties feel more relaxed as there is no chance of meeting. Also, for many people, virtual relationships simply aren’t very real.
But having a girl send photos that hint at her assets is over the line.
I think you need to say something like, “Look, we’re in a relationship. That means I don’t video chat with my male friends while I’m hanging out in bed. Because, my sweet, we keep the sexy thing entirely for each other.”
Ideally, your boyfriend will talk to his friend and say something like, “I love you as my online bestie but I’m in a relationship. Please, let’s do the texting fully dressed, okay?” That should dial it down to proper Friendship level.
If he won’t do that, I’d say that is a huge red flag because, innocent or not, it comes down to whether he’s comfortable with upsetting you. Honestly, if he just pooh-poohs you, I’d take a step back and re-evaluate your whole relationship.
To sum up, committing to a permanent relationship means changes because you start to put each other first. If you are a bit older, such changes can mean some difficult adjustments – especially for close family and friends. Take it easy, talk a lot, compromise where you can and for goodness’ sake, remember that jealousy and being controlling will only hurt.
I hope that helps and that you both find happiness.
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